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Stuart Hampton

Green Hawaii — energy self-sufficiency is in the Aloha State’s future

by Stuart Hampton | Dun & Bradstreet Editor

February 11, 2008 | 1 Comment »

Green, green, it’s green , they say
On the far side of the hill
Green, green, I’m going away
To where the grass is greener still

In the snows of a continental US winter it is easy to conjure up images of a green Hawaii basking in balmy Pacific breezes. But if the US Department of Energy (DOE) and Hawaii governor Linda Lingle have their way it will not just be the tropical moisture and abundant sunshine that make Hawaii green.

They have a plan underway to form a partnership to promote the use of wind, wave, solar, thermal and other renewable energy sources with the ultimate goal being to make the state of Hawaii completely energy self-sufficient. In January 2008 the DOE and the Aloha State signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative. This partnership aims to have 70% of all of Hawaii’s energy needs generated by renewable energy sources by 2030, cutting crude oil consumption in the state by 72%. In 2007 the state was getting about 90% of its energy from imported oil. According to Lingle, only about 8% of Hawaii’s electricity currently comes from renewable sources, but the state is on pace to reach its goal of 20% by 2020.

The ambitious plan calls for harnessing the state’s abundant renewable natural resources, including wind, solar, and geothermal sources for electricity generation, and land for energy crops that can be refined into biofuels to address transportation needs. Harnessing wave energy in the ocean is also on the docket. If all goes according to plan, the draftees envisage a Hawaii with a power grid supplied by renewable sources by 2030, and electric cars replacing fossil fuel-powered vehicles. Beyond helping out Hawaii, the US Government sees the state as a laboratory for green energy initiatives that can be replicated across the US and around the world. It also helps the US government in the short term to project the image of a country actively pursuing policies to remediate global warming. The pact was completed just as high-ranking officials from some of the world’s largest economies had gathered in Honolulu to discuss the adoption of a blueprint against global warming. Participants from 16 major global economies plus the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) had met for the Major Economies Meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change. The US, under pressure to do more on the global warming front, could point to this Hawaii plan as a major green initiative.Is it possible that the island paradise of Hawaii can recover some of its pristine nature after years of urban development driven by a fossil fuel-based energy sources?

Start booking your vacation for 2030. It might just be that, in addition to sun and surf, you will encounter really clean air and quiet roads in, sorry Elvis, Green Hawaii.

I sure wish we were shooting for 2015 instead of 2030. It seems that at the current pace of change, 2030 will be an easy mark.

We’ll be tracking the effort, providing resources like jobs posts, event promotions and most importantly, workforce re-education training in sustainable technologies.

This will all come from the green collar worker’s perspective since that’s what we do at Green Collar Technologies.

Any exposure for green technologies in Hawai`i is always helpful.

Mahalo for your article.

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